Playmates Toys went all out for the Half-Shell Heroes lines: a large assortment of figures, multiple vehicles
and of course, a playset to go with them all. The Super Sewer HQ, much like the Secret Sewer Lair, includes
both a sewer level and the upper city. It also includes two figures and a small vehicle. So there's a lot of
promise in this one playset.
Packaging - 8/10The "show, don't tell" approach to packaging that has been prevelant for all of the other Half-Shell Heroes toys continues here. Given the size of the playset which measures twenty inches wide and about fourteen and a half inches tall, the packaging design used for the figures and vehicles would not be entirely practical. But it isn't much different. They simply added material to cover the top corners. But most of the toy is still very much in the open for young fans to check it out and even try one of the action features. I like the open design. But using it for something this large is pushing the limits. Unlike the figures and vehicles which were able to use packaging that was larger than the toy to avoid concealing anything behind the packaging at the bottom, the Super Sewer HQ has almost its entire lower level concealed. And the large areas of exposed edges along the front make the packaging very prone to damage. The back of the box already has a large photo of the playset to show off the various features, as well as a version of the promotional image of the entire line. And that shows off the set quite well. They may have been just as well off to go with traditional box for this set.
Sculpting - 7/10The Super Sewer HQ is designed with three vertical levels (four if you are counting the roof tops) and three different horizontal areas. Well, the center section is actually only two levels since the ramp for the T-Rawket takes the place of the second story above ground. But that still leaves eleven different play areas. The buildings and upper levels have a decent level of detail. The lower sections and the back side of the tan building are pretty sparse. The area in front of the stir fry restaurant is quite narrow so there is just barely enough room for figures in that area. In general, the Super Sewer HQ makes for a very cool backdrop for the figures. But it could use more means for the figures to actually interact with it or opportunities to interact with the vehicles from the line.
The set also includes two figures and a small vehicle. The figures included are Splinter, who is identical to the basic assortment Splinter, and Michelangelo who is a slight variation of the basic assortment version in that he doesn't have his weapons. Both figures are nice. And I really like the fact that there is a means of getting Splinter without buying the ugly excuse for an April figure that the basic assortment version is packaged with. The T-Rawket is a nice bonus, but it could use some interior detail.
Paint - 6/10The Super Sewer HQ set doesn't have paint work on it. Instead it relies on a varity of plastic colors and stickers for all of the color. It actually works better than I would have expected. It certainly could have been made to look even better, but none of it really looks dull. The same can't be said of the T-Rawket. Its entire rear half is all unpainted blue plastic. The included figures are painted. Unfortunately they didn't paint Splinter's tail on this version either.
Play Value - 8/10The Super Sewer HQ has about half a dozen different features. Some are pretty basic like the working doors at the street level of the tan building and in the dojo in the sewer level. There's a manhole trap door in front of the tan building that is triggered by pressing the ooze splatter on the street. There is a pipe hanging off of the tan building that figures can grab onto and swing back and forth. There is a giant Turtle foot mounted under the "Welcom to Chinatown" sign that swings out to strike enemies while a sound effect/action phrase is played when the lever on the roof is pressed. There is a ramp starting at the top of the tan building that drops all the way down to the sewer level on the left side. It is meant to be used with the T-Rawket, but single figures can slide down it without the hassle of loading them into the vehicle first. Finally there is a short slide that drops a figure from the backside of the watertower onto the balcony below, the front of which will flip down to allow the figure to fly right off the balcony. It can also be used to descretely attach an enemy figure located on the balcony to knock them off. There is also a hidden room on the second floor of the tan building which contains a small computer terminal. It doesn't have any "action features," but it is a fun little addition and much better than letting the space go to waste. Some people may be disappointed that there isn't a more impressive, stand-out feature. But I prefer the variety of smaller features myself.
Value - 8/10The Super Sewer HQ sells for $50. If you consider that the two figures alone would cost $8, that is a pretty reasonable price for a decent sized playset. And while it doesn't have a big, standout feature, but the features it does have should have a lot of long term play value. Even if your child moves on from TMNT, the Super Sewer HQ has a generic enough design that it shuld work well with any shorter figures. As someone who continued to use Fisher Price playsets for years after we had given away any of the other Fisher Price toys, that is something I realy appreciate.
Happy Hunting:The Super Sewer HQ was suppose to be released along with the other initial releases back in 2014. In reality, it did not show up on store shelves until much later. And even then, it was only sold in a few brick and mortar stores. In the new year it seems to be carried in more stores including Toys R Us, Target and Walmart.